New sun cream combines SPF and vitamin D production

A new sunscreen has been hailed by scientists as the first ever to allow the body to produce vitamin D while still providing high-factor SPF protection.

Researchers at Boston University in the US performed a series of tests on Solar D and found it allows the body to produce 50% more vitamin D that standard SPF30 suncreens with no loss of protection.

Sunscreens with an SPF of 30 typically reduce the capacity of the skin to produce vitamin D by almost 98%. The findings, published in journal Plos One, found that Solar D offers the same protection as other SPF 30 lotions while alowing the body to product 50% more vitamin D.

The researchers ran five tests to measure the levels of protection and vitamin D optimisation for sunscreens, using different combinations of compounds that are known to absorb UV radiation.

Dr Michael Holick, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, said: “Solar D was designed with compounds with differing filter compositions to maximise vitamin D production while maintaining its sun protection for reducing erythema or burning of the skin."

Currently, vitamin D deficiency affects around 60% of adults and 40% of children globally and can cause problems such as rickets and muscle weakness. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate, which are essential for healthy teeth and bones.

Solar D is available in Australia and will launch in the US this summer.